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Supporting your health and wellbeing during this unprecedented time, part 2.

Welcome to the second installment focusing on supporting your health and wellbeing written by our resident Nutritionist Dr Shane Thurlow who has a PhD in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. Following on from our discussion on Vitamin D, this blog will present information on ascorbic acid or as it is more commonly known as Vitamin C.

Overview

One of the most popular vitamin supplements, Vitamin C has received much interest and research. This is mainly the result of the facts that it is the main systemic extracellular antioxidant, it also has a role in supporting intracellular antioxidants (glutathione and catalase), and it can’t be manufactured in the body (like most other animals are able to do) (Tan et al., 2018).

Citrus fruits are usually thought of as the best sources of Vitamin C, though vegetables also can contain high levels, especially broccoli, peppers, potatoes and sprouts (NIH). The primary function of Vitamin C is the manufacture of collagen protein. Though it is the significant roles it plays in the immune system and as an antioxidant that is of current interest.

Immune System

According to the OMNS, “Vitamin C also empowers the immune system, promoting chemotaxis, growth, and activity of some immune cells (macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer cells) allowing the body to more effectively fight an infection”. The two routes by which Vitamin C can become available to our body are through intravenous injection or orally (through foods and supplements). Achieving pharmacologic concentrations not possible with oral intake, intravenously administered Vitamin C (up to 100 g) have been used for decades for treating infections, cancer and other conditions (Padayatty et al., 2010). Of note, the use of intravenous Vitamin C is being reported as an appropriate alternative treatment for COVID-19 in relation to the body’s immune system response, the antiviral properties, and it’s antioxidant properties specifically addressing the cytokines’ storm characteristics (Boretti and Banik 2020).

Vitamin C consumed orally from both food and supplements (crystals, powders, capsules and tablets (including time released) and liposomally (phospholipid bilayer)) will enable us to guarantee we have optimum levels of this key nutrient. Preferably we should all be ensuring we eat a wide range of nutritious foods including those higher in Vitamin C  to continue to support our immune and respiratory systems.

We should be eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of many colours. Plasma and tissue saturation are likely achieved through consuming the recommended five servings per day, providing 200 to 250 mg/day of Vitamin C.

However, with our limited shopping options, potential food product availability, health (stress, sickness) levels and the host of additional benefits of optimal levels of Vitamin C. Notably, it’s role in the immune system and as an antioxidant. It is important that we optimise our intakes of this essential nutrient. Bigvits have sorted a range of quality products that can help us support our Vitamin C status and strive for optimal health and wellbeing.

 

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This blog series is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.